Prepare to be inspired and enthralled by these top picks of conservation films for youngsters.
Amanda Breakwell | AUSTRALIA
At a time when protecting the planet is more important than ever, getting vital conservation messages across to younger audiences can prove really effective at facilitating change, and encouraging positive attitudes for the future. And what better way to achieve this than through the power of film? Here are seven conservation films aimed at youngsters.
FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
Set in Australia’s rainforest, this magical, animated film tells the story of forest fairies who try to thwart malevolent loggers from chopping the rainforest down. With strong conservation and environmental themes, and even an anti-animal testing message, this film, with voiceovers from Robin Williams and Christian Slater, also features some light-hearted, comical moments. Catch the trailer here.
Happy Feet (2006)
Cute and heart-warming, this Disney movie centres on a tap-dancing penguin, Mumble, seeking acceptance for being different. However, environmental themes pop up in this flick, including overfishing and plastic pollution. The penguin wearing plastic waste around its neck (which it later chokes on) may be fictional in the film, but it’s a stark reminder how fiction can reflect real life – and this scene certainly tugged at my heartstrings. It’s an enchanting watch, nevertheless.
As one of the earliest conservation films, Bambi was released in 1942 and has had a lasting impact on wildlife preservation. This classic film tells the tear-jerking tale of forest-dwelling deers threatened by hunters. The most poignant scene is when Bambi’s mother is killed by hunters, and it’s this scene alone that’s said to have captured the hearts and minds of animal conservationists. Be inspired with this snippet.
This computer-animated Pixar movie is set on Earth 700 years from now, where the only remaining inhabitant is a robot named WALL-E. It’s his job to clear up the mess humans left behind before they departed to another planet. WALL-E enjoys a budding romance with another robot sent back to Earth on a scanning probe. Delivering clear predictions about how Earth might look in the future if humans don’t take immediate action, I like the fact that this movie also encourages the concepts of reducing, reusing and recycling. Watch the trailer.
Conservation of endangered species is the theme at the heart of this flick, which sees three caring children attempt to save an owl habitat from being destroyed to make way for a new restaurant. You can’t help but root for these kids, so it’s heart-warming to see the youngsters succeed in their battle. But, it’s the message that this film sends out that appeals to me: that even children can make a difference towards conservation. Get the low-down here.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
This Japanese animated film was released over 20 years ago, where the story focuses on Ashitaka, a young prince, who fights to protect the gods of a forest from humans who exploit its natural resources. As conservation films go, this one’s packed with plenty of symbolism. It’s geared towards older children, where it tackles conservation and preservation issues, highlighting the delicate balance between human behaviour and the state of the ecosystem. Take a peek here.
Fly Away Home (1996)
In this endearing movie geared towards older children, a young girl, Amy, from New Zealand moves to Canada to live with her father after her mother tragically dies. When Amy learns that some Canada geese eggs will be bulldozed, she rescues them and takes them under her wing. After they hatch and fledge, she teaches the geese to migrate south. The film tackles issues such as the protection of birds and their habitats, and educates youngsters about bird migration. With Amy and her father devising inventive ways to encourage the birds to fly south safely, this instils the idea in youngsters that conservation often involves thinking creatively. Preview the movie.
If any of these conservation films have inspired you to do your bit for the planet, take a look at how you can minimise your footprint when you’re next on your travels.